Tom Blair blast ensures victory for Dorchester

BY: Dorset Echo Sport


TOM Blair’s stunning strike two minutes into first half stoppage time proved enough for Steve Thompson’s side to record their eleventh win at the Avenue of the season in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division.

Antonio Diaz slipped the ball to Aaron Rodriguez who surged forward across the edge of the box before back-heeling to Blair who beat visiting keeper, Callum Kitscha, with a curling 25-yard shot into the top corner.

Thompson recalled Chris Clarke to replace the suspended Ross Carmichael, while Diaz took the number 10 shirt last used by Archie Collins who has been recalled since Dorchester’s previous match, a 4-3 loss to Kettering Town.

An early right wing corner delivered by Diaz was met by Blair whose near post flick was cleared by Joe Robinson.

A centre from Blair was then met by Luke Winsper but his looping header flew over the crossbar.

Kyle Egan then delivered an inch perfect cross for Blair whose glanced header proved too light as the ball flew out of play.

Callum Rose conceded a corner to cut out a dangerous through ball and from Darren Foxley’s delivery, Ekipteta headed wide.

Play swung back to the other end where a long pass from Billy Lowes set Pope away but the offside flag was raised.

George Casey then charged forward for Bishop’s Stortford but fired wide as did Diaz for the Magpies shortly after.

A free-kick taken by Martin was half-cleared but only to Rodriguez whose volley from 25-yards cleared the crossbar.

Jamie Cureton unleaded a dipping shot from 20 yards which also flew over while Kitscha raced out to save as Pope ran on to a pass from Blair.

There was a moment of concern in the Magpies defence as the ball bounced around with Alfie Mason and Cureton looking to capitalise and eventually a shot from the latter deflected over for a Foxley corner which the Magpies keeper, Chris Weale, safely claimed.

Just as it looked like the first half would end goalless, the deadlock was broken by Blair.

Neither manager made any changes at the start of the second half and Lowes soon produced another well weighted pass for Pope who was unable to get a clean strike on goal.

Freddie Oatman earned himself a yellow card for a foul on Blair.

The resultant free-kick was taken by Winsper and drew a good save from Kitscha who clawed the ball around the far post.

The Blues went close when Cureton turned quickly on to a pass from his skipper, Mark Hughes, but fired wide.

Casey then eased past Winsper but could only fire over while Hughes was also off target with another attempt.

A ball from Mason looking for Hughes was cleared by Martin while a near post drive from Foxley was deflected for a corner which was delivered by Foxley but punched away by Weale.

Tempers flared between Winsper and Casey but Plymouth referee Phillip Eddie took no further action after speaking with both players.

A quickly taken free-kick by Cureton looked to have set Foxley away but Rose cleared the danger.

The introduction of Alex Stafie for Pope on 65 minutes offered a new dimension for Dorchester and after the substitute kept a lost looking ball in play and found Blair, the cross from the latter was met by Diaz who glanced wide.

Another Magpies substitute, Ollie Griggs who had replaced Rodriguez charged down a Kitscha clearance only for the ball to rebound back to the relieved keeper.

Diaz then raced on to another through ball but Robinson was able to make a clearance.

At the other end, Martin did well to turn a shot from Casey around the near post. Ed Bastick had replaced Blair in the 72nd minute and came very close to doubling the Dorchester lead when he met a cross from Stafie and unleashed a powerful drive which Kitscha pushed over his crossbar.

Dorchester continued to resolutely defend their lead through the four minutes of added time during which Weale confidently claimed a menacing cross from Casey but the Magpies held on to claim their second home win in a row.

Dorchester are next in action when they face St Neots Town at home this evening (7.45pm).

Magpies: Weale, Egan, Martin, Rose, Clarke, Winsper, Rodriguez (Griggs 75), Lowes, Pope (Stafie 65), Diaz, Blair (Bastick 72) Subs not used: Panesar-Dower, Ross

Bishop’s Stortford: Kitscha, Casey, Clifford, Hughes, Ekipteta, Robinson, Westcott (Brassington 84), Oakman, Mason, Cureton, Foxley

Subs not used: Cruse, Crowther, Riley

Referee: Phillip Eddie

Attendance: 368